Standard Chartered on course for another record year

Standard Chartered, the British bank that makes most its profits in Asia, said yesterday it was on course to report its eighth consecutive year of record profits after a 17 per cent jump in its bottom line in the first half.

The group, which continues to benefit from soaring wealth in emerging-market economies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, also said it expected to create a net 1,000 jobs this year – in stark contrast to its UK rivals HSBC and Barclays, which have announced significant redundancies this week.

Peter Sands, Standard, Chartered's chief executive, said: "We've got income up, profits up, deposits up, lending up, dividend up." He added that he had a "somewhat different story to tell to other banks – we're growing, we're hiring, we're delivering profit growth".

The group's first-half pre-tax profit came in at $3.64bn (£2.2bn), as operating profits at its consumer and wholesale bank rose by 58 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

"Given the markets we are in and the momentum of our businesses, we expect to deliver double-digit income growth in 2011 and beyond," Mr Sands said.

The bank was boosted by a 55 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to $790m in Hong Kong, though it also suffered from a 39 per cent drop in India after a series of interest-rate rises and increasing competition from local and foreign banks.

Mr Sands said its markets in Asia, Africa and Middle East were partly sheltered from the US and European debt problems but warned "they cannot entirely escape the effects".

"The ripple effects across the global economy and financial system are profound," Mr Sands said. "Unwinding the legacy of far too much borrowing, for far too long, will take time, will be painful and will not be smooth."

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